places cover only 6 %of the Earth's surface but yet they contain MORE THAN 1/2
of the world's plant and animal species!
contain more species than any other ecosystem, as well as a higher proportion of
endemic (unique) species. As people clear large areas of tropical forests,
entire species are vanishing, many of them unknown.
image shows the rainforest canopy north of Manaus, Brazil.
courtesy of NASA LBA-ECO Project)
A Rainforest can be
described as a tall, dense jungle. The reason it is called a "rain"
forest is because of the high amount of rainfall it gets per year.A tropical
rain forest gets more than 60 inches (1.5 meters) of rain per year, although
some regularly get more than 200 inches (five meters).
There are two types
of rainforests, tropical and temperate. Tropical rainforests are found closer to
the equator and temperate rainforests are found farther north near coastal
areas. The majority of common houseplants come from the rainforest.
TERRA Satellite Global Vegetation Image
The largest tropical
rainforests exist in the Amazon Basin (the Amazon Rainforest), in Nicaragua (Los
Guatuzos, Bosawi and Indio-Maiz), the southern Yucatan Peninsula-El Peten-Belize
contiguous area of Central America (including the Calakmul Biosphere Reserve), in much of equatorial Africa from Cameroon to the Democratic Republic of Congo,
in much of southeastern Asia from Myanmar to Indonesia and Papua New Guinea,
eastern Queensland, Australia and in some parts of the United States. The
majority of tropical rainforest is found within a 20 degree band around the
the tropics, temperate rainforests can be found in British Columbia,
southeastern Alaska, western Oregon and Washington, the northern coast of
California, Scotland and Norway, the western Caucasus (Ajaria region of
Georgia), parts of the western Balkans, Japan, southern Chile, New Zealand,
Tasmania, and parts of eastern Australia.
Land Group/Vegetation Indices, Alfredo Huete, Principal Investigator, and Kamel
Didan, University of Arizona. Satellite: Terra Sensor: MODIS
In Brazil- 5.4+
Million Acres per year
80% of the ancient
forests have been destroyed
only 20% of the ancient
forests remain intact
are home to more species of plants and animals than the rest of the
world put together.
astounding number of fruits (bananas, citrus), vegetables (peppers,
okra), nuts (cashews, peanuts), drinks (coffee, tea, cola), oils
(palm, coconut), flavorings (cocoa, vanilla, sugar, spices), and other
foods (beans, grains, fish) come from rainforests.
forest fibers are found in rugs, mattresses, ropes and strings,
fabrics, industrial processes, and more.
forest oils, gums and resins are found in insecticides, rubber
products, fuel, paint, varnish and wood finishing products, cosmetics,
soaps, shampoos, perfumes, disinfectants, and detergents.
is 2% of Africa's landmass but has 10,000 species of plants -- 80% are
endemic (found no where else in the world).
Amazon River is the world's largest river system. Its annual outflow
accounts for one-fifth of all the fresh water that drains into the
tree species have been found in a 10 hectare plot of Malaysian
rainforest -- more than the total number of tree species native to the
US and Canada.
1800, there were 2.9 billion hectares of tropical forest worldwide.
There are 1.5 billion hectares of tropical forest remaining.
1960-1990, 445 million hectares of tropical forest were cleared.
lost almost a third of its tropical forest cover between 1960-1980 --
the world's highest rate of forest clearance.
90% of West Africa's rainforest has been destroyed.
lose 50 species every day -- 2 species per hour -- due to tropical
rainforests act as a global air conditioner -- by storing and
absorbing carbon dioxide from the air, storing the carbon, and
releasing fresh, clean oxygen.
forests yield some of the world's most beautiful and valuable woods,
such as teak, mahogany, rosewood, balsa, and sandalwood. These woods
surround us at home, in shops, and in offices.
50% of all mammals and 25% of all bird species in peninsular Malaysia
will become extinct by the year 2020 if the rainforest destruction
50% of the Earth's species live in tropical forests.
2000 tropical forest plants have been identified as having anti-cancer
properties. However, scientists have only tested 1 in 10 tropical
forest plants for these properties and only intensively screened 1 in
of all primates are found in tropical forests.
is home to all of the world's lemurs -- all are endangered.
90% of Madagascar's forests have been destroyed.
Southeast Asia, traditional healers use 6,500 different tropical
1500, there were approximately 6 million native people living in
Brazilian Amazonia. By 2000 there were less than 250,000.
of Australia's tropical rainforest has been cleared since the late
90 different Amazonian tribes are thought to have disappeared in the
takes 60 years for a tropical rainforest tree to grow big enough to be
used for timber.
rainforests cover 6% of the earth's surface and contain over 50% of
the earth's species.
2000 rainforest plants have been shown to have anti-cancer properties.
rainforest temperatures are high all year around at between 20 - 30 C
80% of all insect species live in tropical rainforests
in 5 of all the birds on Earth live in Amazonia
4% of the world's tropical rainforests are protected.
than 9000 species of orchids grow on tropical trees.
largest flower on Earth comes from a tropical forest - the Rafflesia
grows up to 1 metre across.
Rica was the first Central American nation to cultivate coffee.
Rica was the first Central American nation to cultivate bananas for
developing countries, which account for most of the tropical
rainforests, have almost 75% of the world's people but only about 15%
of the world's goods.
our forests most of the nutrients of a rainforest are stored in its
vegetation rather than in its soil.
common way to clear land for agriculture or ranching is by felling and
burning the trees
25% of all medicines used by Americans originated in a tropical
species of plants and animals are disappearing from the rainforests
before they can be catalogued and studied.
most tropical countries only one tree is replanted for every ten cut.
2,000 trees per minute are cut down in the rainforests.
the rainfall in Amazonia returns to the atmosphere through the process
the tropics, wood is the main source of energy for cooking for
millions of poor, rural people.
65% of Central America has been cleared to create pastureland for
land cleared for pasture or farming degrades quickly and is usually
Ganges Plain, in India, is the most densely populated region in the
world. It has suffered severe flooding because of deforestation.
of the forests in India and Nepal have been cleared for agriculture.
of powerful pesticides on banana plantations in Costa Rica has killed
huge numbers of fish in nearby rivers and streams.
Papua New Guinea, butterfly farms are a successful operation that
provides income and supports forest preservation.
the 20th century, 90 tribes of native peoples have been wiped out in
of the medical problems solved with rainforest plants include: a.
malaria (the bark of the cinchona tree produces quinine) b. a muscle
relaxant used during surgery (curare, a vine extract used by
indigenous peoples to poison arrows and darts) c. strokes, seizure,
depression and Alzheimer's disease (secretions of an Amazonian frog
called Phyllomedusa bicolor)
rainforest is home to 155,000 out of 225,000 plant species known in
100 hectares of Amazon rainforest can contain up to 1500 different
every tropical plant species that becomes extinct it is thought that
20 insects are certain not to survive.
3% of all tropical tree species used for timber and paper products are
grown in plantations
Warming & the Rainforest: Raintrust Foundation Intro